Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5500 posted here) sent daily for 18 years --

Monday, August 01, 2005

Gems from August 2005

August 1

"And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto [one] named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band." (Acts 27:1)

Our life has been determined by Another. No one planned his or her birth into this world - no one had any say about when, where, or into what conditions they would begin life's journey. All that has been determined by God. What a comfort to realize that our God has foreknown us - He has planned our lives, desires to bless us, and all in perfect love and wisdom. "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." (Romans 8:29-30)

Dear young person, even if you sometimes get discouraged and think you may have somehow been cheated in the circumstances into which you were born, always remember the question that is asked immediately after the above passage:"What shall we then say to these things? If God (be) for us, who (can be) against us?" The God who created you and determined the circumstances and time of your entering upon life's journey, is, if you know Him as your Saviour God, for you. He makes no mistakes - only Satan, who fooled Adam and Eve in the garden, would desire to get us to question God's perfect ways, His goodness and His love. The devil will always try to get us to question God's ability and desire to make us supremely happy. (Douglas Nicholas - The Journey of Life)

N.J. Hiebert # 2328

August 2

"They looked unto Him, and were lightened." (Psalm 34:5)

- Which would you rather have, a smooth path, or a path so rough that the Lord is compelled to show His face to you every step of the way?
- Christ wept; but He wept as in the sight of God . . . Let us see to it that the sorrows we have flow from Himself, and flow toward Him in God; they will be all the deeper, I am sure, but what is from God and to God is sustained by God, and so we can give thanks always for all things.
- It is a great thing for each to be . . . ready to act on and from his own responsibility, but never going beyond that which he sees to be his own duty, never acting under the light which others have. . . . I would rather act under God's measure of light vouchsafed to me, or not act, because I had none such, than be the one to carry out the mind of any man, without my being assured his mind was God's mind for me.
- More and more does it become clear to me that "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way thou shouldest go: I will guide thee with mine eye" is the only proper and safe guide for us. (G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 2329

August 4

"Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. . . . God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able."

(1 Corinthians 10:12,13)

- Sympathy is the rarest of all ministries, as it is also the sweetest; it makes no show in the world, but it leaves its mark.
- In praying for the sick I once heard a brother use this expression: "May those who are too weak to PRAY be able to LEAN."
- There is no pillow like love, and we have the Lord's perfect love to rest upon. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2330

August 5

"My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

- The path of strength . . . is the being made sensible of our own weakness, so that divine strength, which will never be a supplement of flesh's strength, may come in.
- He refreshes the spirit, raises above weakness and pain . . . Think much on Jesus (I do not mean as if you could think much in your weak state, but looking to Him), and lean on Him as a sick child lies in its mother's arms, because it has no strength - not because it can do much. (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 2331

August 6

"Him whom my soul loveth" (Song of Solomon 3:4)

Is there not a fear lest familiarity with the things of Christ be much more than the soul's real acquaintance with Himself? . . . I may be reading the books which tell of Him. . . . I may speak, nay, write about Him, while others . . . may be a good deal withdrawn from this, but their growth in divine knowledge and living understanding of Him may be far more advancing. (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2332

August 7

"For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34)

From tiny eggs come little birds,
And little thoughts hatch into words,
Which then take wings and fly away,
But may come back to roost someday!

Before some words are airborne things,
We would do well to clip their wings!
Some words are best left in the nest!
Don't let them fly without a test

N.J. Hiebert # 2333

August 8

"This woman hath anointed My feet with ointment." (Luke 7:46)

It is one thing to be saved, to have salvation, and another for your soul to be in immediate contact with your Saviour. He has been lifted up as the brazen serpent. Have you looked and lived? If you have looked at Him, you cannot help loving Him; and, like Jonathan, your heart requires of you that its love should find expression without an effort." (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2334

August 9

"He (the Lord) was seen upon the wings of the wind." (Psalm 22:11)

In the great Chicago fire of 1871, more than 17,000 buildings were burned and 250 lives were lost. In a fire in London, which could have been as bad, the damage was much less and only four people died. Surprisingly, a strong easterly wind made the difference.

During the Chicago fire a great pall of smoke hovered over the city that increased the heat by preventing the ground from cooling during the night. In the London disaster, however, forceful winds prevented the formation of a smoke layer so that much of the heat that could have caused other buildings to burst into flame was dissipated. Also the steady wind directed the blaze westward, making it easier to predict its path and allowing the people to escape in time.
David's song of deliverance refers to seeing God on the "wings of the wind." Whatever natural phenomenon that may have been, David saw in it God's providential hand. It gave him cause for rejoicing and made him feel safe and secure (2 Samuel.22:20).
Are winds of adversity filling you with dread? Maybe it looks like they are fanning the flames of more trouble. Hold to God in faith. One day you'll see that He was "upon the wings of the wind," fulfilling His good purposes. (H.G.B.)

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm
! (Cowper)

(Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 1993, Grand Rapids, MI Reprinted permission)

N.J. Hiebert # 2335

August 10

"And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger."
(Exodus 16:3)

- The trials of the desert put nature to the test; they bring out what is in the heart. Forty years' toil and travail make a great change in people.
- Desert life tests every one. It proves what is in us, and, thanks be to God, it brings out what is in Him for us.
- Man would rather sit by the flesh pots, in a land of death and darkness, than walk with God through the wilderness, and eat bread from heaven. (Food for the Desert)

N.J. HIebert # 2336

August 11

"But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you." (John 5:42)

There is one sin which leads men to the commission of all others - the desire to please themselves. If this has once been acted on, it constitutes that man a sinner, just as the breach of one law of the land stamps a man a criminal. We do not require him to run through the transgression of every law in the statute book in order to bring him in guilty. His having broken one is the evidence of his guilt; we need no further proof.
While acting then on this as a principle, we are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. There is no life, no love, in us; as our Saviour said to those by whom He was surrounded, "I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you." Now this is the real fact, that there is no assimilation to God in man's natural state, but the contrary principle - hatred, enmity. (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 2337

August 12

"Upholding all things by the word of His power." (Hebrews 1:3)

We take to the road in our cars, and there is a fear attendant upon that kind of travel. Perhaps we do not go very far until we hear a crash. It is such a common occurrence that everybody has seen something like that. There has been a collision, and there is a racket and a noise - and perhaps there is suffering and possibly death. There is the same danger whether you travel by car, train or plane. "Whenever man makes anything, he always puts a repair shop right alongside of it." The moment you hear of a car, you hear of a garage where you can get it fixed; the moment you get a lovely watch, you immediately think of a shop that will fix it when it goes wrong.
He upholds all things. How may of those planets and stars have had to be laid up for repairs? He upholds all things by the word of His power. That is the blessed Lord Jesus, the One who made purgation for our sins, and in whose presence we are going to be for ever and ever. We are going to enjoy what He enjoys, and be heirs and coheirs with Him. What a future! (C.H. Brown - adapted)

N.J. Hiebert # 2338

August 13

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)

It seems like distrust of oneself, and deep lowliness of spirit, to shrink from heavy responsibility; but all we need to inquire is, Has God imposed that responsibility? If so, He will be assuredly with me in sustaining it; and having Him with me, I can sustain anything. With Him, the weight of a mountain is nothing; without Him, the weight of a feather is overwhelming. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2339

August 14

"Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. . . . He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. . . In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good." (Ecclesiastes 11:1,4,6)

Christ's servants are given plain injunction and clear directions to go diligently on with the Lord's work, in the full assurance that seed sown will bring forth fruit, although many days may elapse before the fruit be seen. They are very cheering also, for the assurance that they who sow beside all waters are blessed of God, may well encourage our hearts anew to go on with the Lord's work. The Lord loves to cheer His servants. He is the God of all encouragement. (Christian Truth - Vol. 22)

N.J. Hiebert # 2340

August 15

"And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
(Ephesians 4:11,12)

It is not a question of taking upon us much or little, but of doing our appointed work and filling our appointed places. It is by the effectual working of all the members, according to the measure of every part, that the edification of the whole body is promoted. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2341

August 16

"For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (1 John 4:6)

Beware of being satisfied with "clear views" of scriptural subjects. It is no doubt most needful to "hold fast the form of sound words"; but then a form of sound words without realized companionship with Christ will leave the heart as cold as an icicle. We must remember that, in nature, the clearest nights are often the coldest. Thus it is with professing Christians. A sound creed in the head, without Christ in the heart, is a poor, cold, dead, worthless, soul-deceiving thing.

The true way of obtaining clear views of the gospel, is to look "in the face of Jesus Christ." The true way to obtain a knowledge of sound doctrine, is to feel by the touch of faith the very pulsations of the heart of Jesus. One reason why so many Christians lack abiding peace, is that they make peace their object, instead of cultivating a closer walk with God. It is impossible to be in the presence of God and not have peace, because perfect love makes every one within its range feel perfectly at home. This is one of the precious effects of love. (Christian Truth - Vol. 22)

N.J. Hiebert # 2342

August 17

"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." (Romans 11:36)

It is marvellous grace, most surely, that can stoop to take up such poor things as we are and use us in that blessed work which our God is carrying on, whether in gathering or feeding the flock of Christ; but the work is His, not ours; we are instruments, not doers. When a gardener waters his drooping plants, and causes them to emit their fragrance, who thinks of praising the watering pot? And yet the watering pot has its place. Truly so; but it is a watering pot, not a gardener - an instrument, not a doer. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 2343

August 18

"He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:10)

He looked for a city and lived in a tent . . . A pilgrim to glory right onward he went . . .
God's promise his solace, so royal his birth . . . No wonder he sought not the glories of earth.

He looked for a city his God should prepare . . . No mansion on earth could he covet or share . . .
For had not God told him that royal abode . . . Awaited His coming on ending the road?

He looked for a city; if sometimes he sighed . . . To be trudging the road, all earth's glory denied . . .
The thought of that city changed sighing to song . . . For the road might be rough,
but it could not be long.

He looked for a city; his hope, Lord, we share . . . And know that bright city,
which Thou dost prepare . . .
We'll dwell in forever, since willing to be . . . Just pilgrims with Jesus, our roof a tent-tree.

N.J. Hiebert # 2344

August 19

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."

(Galatians 6:2)

If you have Christ at all, you have Christ not only for atonement, but as your life. He that believes on the Son has everlasting life; and the everlasting life is Christ, just as truly as by being born into the world from Adam I have got an old natural life that loves evil, and which, as it grows in strength, grows in capacity for self-will. Even so, If I believe in Christ, there is this new life produced, which is developed in proportion as Christ is fed upon and looked to, and as Christ's words and ways are pondered over by the soul. (William Kelly)

N.J. Hiebert # 2345

August 20

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58)

We are urged in the scriptures to a life of continuance. We are to continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:43); in the faith (Acts 14:22); in the Apostle's doctrine, or teaching (Acts 2:42; 1 Timothy 4:16); in His Word (John 8:31); in His love (John 15:9); in prayer (Colossians 4:2; Acts 1:14); and in praise (Hebrews 13:15).
It is as we go on in these things, that the gift of continuance shall be ours. God's desire is that His people shall be "steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." (A.P.G.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2346

August 21

"Looking unto Jesus . . ." (Hebrews 12:2)

"Unto Jesus" and not - do we need to say it? - at our pretence of righteousness. Ill above all who are ill is he who believes himself in health; blind above the blind he who thinks that he sees (John 9:41). If it is dangerous to look long at our wretchedness, which is, alas! too real; it is much more dangerous to rest complacently on imaginary merits. (Theodore Monod - Translated from the French by Helen Willis)

N.J. Hiebert # 2347

August 22

"Thou remainest . . . , Thou art the same." (Hebrews 1:11,12)

In a world of change and uncertainty, the truth of the text above gives the believer comfort and stability: God remains forever the same - not only in His character but also in His wise and loving purposes. How this reality strengthens and encourages us! We are assured that our Saviour and Shepherd is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). With absolute confidence in the Lord we can say, "Let me be deprived of all I cherish here on earth, still Thou remainest!"

During a severe financial crisis, a farmer, whose homestead had been in the family for three generations, was forced to sell all his goods to pay his debts. After everything had been auctioned, he came back into the living room, sat down on an old box, and looked around at the empty farm-house. Noticing a familiar item hanging over the fireplace, he said, "Thank God, there's one thing they haven't sold!" The auctioneer had overlooked it, and it became for the farmer a most precious possession. It was a little card with silver lettering that read: THOU REMAINEST! His furniture and his farm implements were all gone, but there was a great comfort in those words, for they reminded him that his richest treasure - the love of God and the salvation Jesus Christ provides - could not be taken from him.
Christian brother or sister, no matter how uncertain life seems, no matter what hardships and reversals we experience, our God never changes. He remains forever the same in His wisdom, His power, and His love. (H.G.B.)

Yesterday He helped me, Today I"ll praise His name,
Because I know tomorrow He'll help me just the same
. (Anon)

Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure. (Browning)
(Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 1983, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission)
N.J. Hiebert # 2348

August 23

"He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life." (Proverbs 13:3)

Guard thou thy tongue from ceaseless words, whatever else you do;
And ere you speak of anything, be sure you know it's true.
For oftentimes some little word, though said in fun and jest,
Will fill some tender, loving heart with dire unhappiness.

N.J. Hiebert # 2349

August 24

"Sing unto the Lord, bless His name; show forth his salvation from day to day." (Psalm 96:2)

"This is the day the Lord hath made." It is the Lord's gift. But for His goodness and mercy I should not have seen Today. His goodness is new upon me each morning.

But why should God give me Today? He has given me so many; rarely have I given one back to Him. He gave me Today that I might honour and serve Him better than on any day I hitherto accepted from His hand,
How strangely wonderful would it be if but a single day could be fully given back to God by me; if on arising in the morning I would call upon Him: "Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning," and then through Today in all things be guided by His voice, trust Him, love Him, obey Him.

If from youth a man accepts Today as God's gift and lives it by His grace, he exalts the name of God and brings strength to his nation. (Mountain Trailways for Youth)

N.J. Hiebert # 2350

August 25

"Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe; and I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually." (Psalm 119:117)

The believer has no more strength to stand for the Lord than he had before he trusted him as Saviour. This is a lesson that all believers must learn early in their Christian life, for they will soon find that even when desiring to truly serve the Lord their strength will desert them.

One young man who had not received Christ as Saviour was very concerned about the need of his soul, and when an older man, a believer, urged him to confess his sin to God and receive the Lord Jesus as his Saviour, he objected, saying that he would not be able to stand for the Lord. The older man took a pen and held it with its point on the table, saying to his friend, "Is it not strange to see a pen standing on its point?" The younger man responded, "But you're holding it."
"Yes, and that is just what you need," he was told. "You cannot hold yourself up, but if you trust the Lord Jesus to save you, He will also hold you up, though you have no strength whatever."
The Lord Jesus confirms this beautifully in John 10:27-29, where He says, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them . . . and I give them life eternal; and they shall never perish, and no one shall seize them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all, and no one can seize out of the hand of My Father."

Thus the Lord Jesus gives to the believer utmost confidence. Will He fail one of His own? Will the Father fail a true believer? Never! "The Lord is able to make him stand." (L.M. Grant)

Trust in Him, ye saints for ever; He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force not guile can sever Those He loves from Him
. (T. Kelly)

N.J. Hiebert # 2351

August 26

"She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." (Proverbs 31:26)

I might have said a word of cheer Before I let him go.
His wistful eyes - they haunt me yet! But how could I foreknow
That slighted chance would be the last To me in mercy given?
Remorseful yearnings cannot send That word from earth to heaven.

I might have looked the love I felt; My brother had sore need
Of that for which, all shy and proud, He had not speech to plead.
But self is near, and self is strong, And I was blind that day!
He sought within my careless eyes And went athirst away.

O smile and clasp and word withheld! O brother-heart, now stilled!
Dear life, forever out of reach, I might have warmed and filled.
Talents misused and treasures lost O'er which I mourn in vain,
A waste as barren to my tears, As desert sands to rain!

Ah, friends! whose eyes today may hold Converse with living eyes,
Whose touch or tone or smile may thrill Sad souls with sweet surprise;
Be instant, like your Lord, with love And constant as His grace,
With dew and light and manna fall - The night comes on apace
. (Anon - Northern Messenger))

N.J. Hiebert # 2352

August 27

"Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." (2 Corinthians 4:17)

How merciful it is in the ways of God that it is only gradually we approach our sorrows, and that we find when they come upon us that they are "lustred with His love"!

He alone who has made the blank in your life can fill it, and He will. When all the blanks of earth are filled with His presence we gain infinitely more than we have lost.
When the Lord returns we shall lose all bodily weakness, so that it will take a little time, as it often seems to me, before we find ourselves at home in our new circumstances. How we shall rejoice when "In soul and body perfect." For this deliverance we have still to wait, but the blessed hope of it cheers us in the midst of our pilgrimage. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2353

August 28

"Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." (Hebrews 10:37)

The soul is tested by afflictions as to how far self-will is active. . . . God searches us. By this means we learn on the one hand what we are, and on the other what God is for us in His faithfulness and daily care. We are weaned from the world, and our eyes become better able to discern and appreciate what is heavenly. (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 2354

August 29

"They looked unto Him, and were lightened." (Psalm 34:5)

You may have gone through deep waters, and many a furrow grief may have left on your forehead, but as you passed through the trouble which did you find most - the trial or Christ who passed through it with you? (G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 2355

August 30

"Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?"
(Song of Solomon 8:5)

It is not wickedness to be harassed by bad thoughts if you resist them. It is Satan's effort to get you to adopt them, and thus you are sifted. You will find, if you keep near the Lord, that you are more established after an assault of the kind than you were before; and the only way to combat Satan's attacks is by the Word. . . . If Satan can lead you to become indifferent to these assaults, then they will lead you to great damage; but if, on the contrary, they urge you to be more dependent on the Lord Himself and on His word . . . you will be "settled." "After you have suffered awhile make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." (1 Peter 5:10) (Footprints for Pilgrims)

N.J. Hiebert # 2356

August 31

"Him whom my soul loveth." (Song of Solomon 3:4)

It is one thing to render to Jesus the tribute of admiration, or even tears, and another to join one's self with Him for better or for worse, through good and evil. . . . One thing to speak well of Him, another to give up all for Him. (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2357


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